Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How long has it been since you had Pavlova? Have you ever had Pavlova?..........Let me tell you about my beloved Pavlova….no, no, no, not the ballerina, Anna Pavlova. I am talking about the dessert Pavalova. Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer. It is a meringue with a crisp crust and sweet meltingly-soft center.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honor of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to New Zealand in the 1920s. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of New Zealand, and is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals.

If you have never had it, you are in for a treat. Due to its elegance, it is unfortunately saved for special occasions, but it need not be! Whip it up anytime….particularly now during fresh fruit season. Naturally, in New Zealand, it is covered with gorgeous slices of juicy Kiwi combined with other fruit, such a strawberries. I love it with some of our Missouri Peaches, peeled, sliced, and delicately sweetened if needed. As wonderful as the fresh fruit is, it is the whipped cream filled giant meringue that has me president of Pavlova’s fan club!
Here is the deal....That first distinctive crunch as you crack through the delicately baked meringue shell is one of my favorite all time sounds. Where the soft meringue center becomes one with the cool whipped cream is possibly one of the sexiest bites of food you will ever experience in your life, and I kid you not!

Yes, you have to try it……please!


serves 8 to10….or just me over several days! Some say it can’t be held over from one day to the next…..wrong….still delicious, just not as gorgeous!

1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature (from about 4eggs)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 1/4 cups heavy cream  2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 cup of thinly sliced ripe fruit, such as kiwi, peaches or nectarines
10 strawberries, , thinly sliced or other berries, such as raspberries or blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a clean, dry bowl until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff, smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes more. On a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a sheet pan, use a pencil to draw or trace a circle 9-inches in diameter. Line the sheet pan with the parchment, pencil side down (you should still be able to see the circle). Spoon the egg whites into the circle, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top and sides of the disk. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until the meringue has puffed up and cracked on the top and the surface is lightly browned, about 45 minutes more. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open, and let the pavlova cool in the oven at least 30 minutes, to room temperature. This ensures a gradual cooling, which protects the delicate meringue.

Whip the cream and brown sugar together until stiff. Spoon it in the center of the cooled pavlova and spread out to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Arrange the soft fruits of your choice on top. To serve, slice into wedges with a serrated knife.

Here is a chocolate version….however, I much prefer the original!

Chocolate Pavlova
serves 8

6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 (1 ounce) square bittersweet chocolate, melted


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Beat together egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar to soft peaks in a large bowl. Beat in sugar, about three tablespoons at a time, until stiff and glossy peaks form. Sift cocoa and cornstarch over egg whites, and gently fold in. Gently fold in vinegar, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the meringue into an eight inch circle. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 1/2 hours until the outside is crispy and the center is soft. Using a metal spatula, loosen the meringue from the parchment paper, and remove to cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely, about one hour.

Whip cream with the sugar, and spread over the meringue. Arrange strawberries decoratively over the top, and drizzle with chocolate.
See the resemblance?

Anna Pavlova

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